Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The beach

On Sunday Indy and I visited Grand Mere State Park on Lake Michigan. It was rainy off and on, but thankfully, by the time we reached the beach it had cleared up.

Grand Mere is a pretty state park, very undeveloped ... a little too undeveloped if you ask me. There were no signs directing people to the beach, or anywhere really, just tons of well worn trails that wandered off in every direction ... through miles of very high sand dunes. Needless to say, Indy and I wandered off in the wrong direction ... after aimlessly climbing and descending multiple sand dunes I fully expected to see water by the time I reached the summit of the monster size darn near vertical climb sand dune, only to be met by a view of another dune, and another one after that. Clearly, I had gone the wrong direction, so we started back tracking, a tiny bit lost, but eventually made it back to the car, hot, sweaty and swearing, I realized my keys had fallen out of my pocket, so, back we went, to climb those damn dunes all over again. I found my keys but I officially HATE sand dunes :) I griped at Indy for not being a tracking dog and for pulling on his leash the whole darn time (the trails weren't wide enough for heeling). Eventually we saw someone else on the trail and followed him to the beach, which was lovely. Indy did what can only be described as frolicking, those of you have have labs, know what I'm talking about. We played fetch, well, I said "fetch" he thought I said, "keep away", typical. In his usual joyous fashion, he bounded right up to a big female Shepard type dog, got in her face, taunted her with his toy, trying to induce play time ... the big doofus doesn't have a clue how to approach protective dogs. She growled and pitched a fit, luckily nothing more .. one of these days Indy is going to get himself into trouble because he doesn't understand why anyone wouldn't love him. Then our friend Ivy, the 11 pound Shi' Tzu bullier of big dogs arrived to put Indy in his place.

In order to be respectable dogs they had to play keep away with an old fish skeleton they found on the beach, yum. Indy dug a big hole in the beach as Ivy supervised and chased the flying sand. Poor Ivy must have required some serious bath time when she got home that night. Luckily Indy is a wash & wear dog, a nice hot shower and he's ready to go. Then I just have to clean the mud off and sand off every surface in the bathroom.

We left the beach happy and exhausted. Indy slept the whole way home, one happy and content lab.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Today I am participating in the global "Free Burma" blogging movement. In keeping with the subject of this blog, we have at left a black lab wearing red in support of today's "Free Burma" movement (not my photo, it was post on Flickr for the use of bloggers today).
If you're anything like me, you've heard short blurbs about the problems in Myanmar on the radio and you think, "oh that's sad", but you don't really know what's going on, and honestly, don't dwell on it for more than a few seconds. Let's take some time out today to learn about the problems facing Burma, why the monks are protesting, how the government is retaliating and what the international community is doing about it.

ko htike's blog (warning, disturbing, graphic pictures)

BBC's Country Profile: Burma

BBC: Monks trying to Escape Rangoon

BBC: Sanctions' limited effect in Burma

BBC: UN Envoy holds key Burmese talks

AP: Myanmar Junta steps up propaganda

An example of the Burmese government's propaganda

Burma Digest (blog)

Raw Story shows smuggled CNN video of the violence in Burma

A letter from inside Burma after the Internet has been blocked

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Well, Indy got to go see the vet yesterday. He was tickled pink, going to vet is like going to Disneyland for him, all the smells, sights, new people and animals ... did I mention smells? He always reverts to his hyperactive puppy from hell behavior when we go to the vet, bouncing all over the place, whole body wagging, typical lab "smile" from ear to ear, tongue hanging out, happy as can be. Though labs in this state can be downright aggravating with their over exuberance, they absolutely exude the joy of life, and everyone present smiles despite themselves.

Indy has been an itchy, sneezy dog since we got him a year ago, he had a noticeable worse spell in the spring where you could hear him clearing his throat and he sneezed and scratched and nibbled even more than usual, but I really didn't want to put him on drugs unless it was necessary, so we went into wait and see mode, and things seemed to improve. I've been supplementing his diet with fish body oil capsules and a little vitamin E, his coat became even softer and shinier, but it still seemed like he scratched more than a normal dog and with the arrival of fall, his severe itchiness has returned. He was nibbling so hard he had marks and little pustules on his skin, easily visible on his belly and inner hind legs. He was scratching his ears all the time and they were starting to look a bit pink. The diagnoses is mild atopy or atopic dermatitis. We're trying out Hydroxyzine Hcl 50mg twice per day. It's a prescription antihistamine and should be more than enough to give him relief from mild allergies. There was a noticeable difference within an hour or two of the first pill, I only saw him scratch once all night and no nibbles or rolling around on his back. The vet said that he would probably get drowsy on this medicine, I don't mind saying, that sounded rather appealing at the time :) It didn't happen though, he was wide awake and his wild and crazy self. By this morning, 12 hours later, it was clear that he was ready for his second dose as the aggressive scratching had returned. That's to be expected, it's not a cure, it just offers some relief from the symptoms. I really don't care for the idea of keeping my pets on medication long term, so hopefully (fingers crossed) this drug will only be needed to get him through allergy season.